LIVE REVIEW: THE SUBWAYS, ART BRUT @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle (12.03.20) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Steve Gullick

Art Brut’s frontman Eddie Argos is tonight sporting a comedy ‘tache and the first 20 minutes or so of their set comes across more stand-up than rock ‘n’ roll, despite opening their set with the riff from Welcome To The Jungle. Argos’ mum thinks he should be a success now that “shouty angry” bands like Idles are the in-thing but the Berlin-based Londoners have plenty of almost hits, including the art rock indulgence of Formed A Band and the Britpop innocence of Emily Kane, in their 15-year repertoire to claim to be pioneers rather than copycats. For a band that don’t take themselves too seriously, they still provide some serious entertainment.

Fifteen years ago The Subways were among the first and finest bands to emerge from a generation of kids who had grown up with a love of Nirvana. Their debut record Young For Eternity captured that punk sound, as well as a youthful exuberance that is still very much in evidence within the three piece band tonight. Singer and guitarist Billy Lunn’s howl still conveys the restlessness of a kid growing up in a new town and hanging around on city pavements, aswell as subjects that any age group can relate to on the likes of Holiday. Rock & Roll Queen is still full of the hormonal lust that made it so addictive at your first indie disco and bassist Charlotte Cooper is still one of the coolest girls to take a flying leap across a stage.

The album anniversary format is not so fresh, however, so it’s not until the second set when things get a little more spontaneous with tracks from sophomore record All Or Nothing like the metal thrash of This Is The Club For People Who Hate People and the laid back pop punk of Alright that dominate. A new track, Incantation, does all that you’d hope and expect it to, and a second extended Rock & Roll Queen is savoured as who knows when we’ll be able to enjoy nights like these again. As a fever starts to grip the nation outside, it’s good to be reminded of more innocent and hopeful times within the Boiler Shop walls tonight. 

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